Nassau, Bahamas — The storms are gathering and are now descending downward upon the National Insurance Board headquarters. Bahamas Press has learned our probe into the questionable squander of public money by the management team at NIB is now under full–scale investigations by the Cabinet of The Bahamas.
Bahamas Press is advised the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham has ordered a convening of the board of directors who we understand grilled Cargill concerning the squander of funds at the Board on Monday.
Bahamas Press has also learned the ‘Buffed Roommate’ of Kenneth Russell, Iram lewis, could be seen entering NIB yesterday. One source tells us, it is unknown whether he was there to collect another cheque or if he summoned by the Board.
Bahamas Press confirmed at the beginning of our probe it was Lewis, who while serving as a consultant for NIB, awarded himself a whooping $232,500 contract. The contract was issued by NIB in February of this year while Prime Minister Ingraham served as minister with responsibility for National Insurance.
We’ve also learned that the Board has ordered the cancellation of the lavish executive retreat at the Abaco Club in Winding Bay.
Cargill confirmed the trip for executives at NIB, which caters to world royals with the cheapest room going at $869 per night/per person double occupancy. Cargill again LIED to the public when he said in his press statement, “It is true that NIB has scheduled a two–day Executive Management Strategic Planning Meeting for two business days, but this is not unlike similar initiatives held for senior executives during the history of the National Insurance Board. As for the imminent one at Abaco, we have been successful in negotiating rates significantly below market (less than $200 perday ).”
Winding Bay is no Motel 8. Cargill knows that and so do we. It is a property visited and coveted by “extremely fortunate persons” European Royals, Baronesses and Dukes. And of course, “if allowed” the corporate jets of NIB will also descend on the property and spend away the thousands raked from poor struggling businesses.
Documents seen by Bahamas Press confirm cost racked up by the Board would have included: Airline ticket cost at $200 per person. Ground transportation at $500 per person. Accommodation at $869 per night per person and dining at $295 per person, per day. The intended stay at Winding Bay we understand was for 5 days and not 2 as stated by Cargill. Not to mention, readers should note, this does not include cost to use the amenities at the resort such as the spa, the golf course, yacht rentals and bookings for its conference rooms. Not to mention Cargill’s insatiable thirst for expensive Fiji water, which would have to be imported by the resort with a five–day supply.
The cost to the taxpayers would be undoubtedly ratchet up in the thousands at a time when poor unemployed citizens need NIB now more than ever. While NIB decline legitimate death and sickness benefits . Wall Street early in the year adopted the rule and decided to suspend executive retreats due to the global economic crisis. So why is NIB’s managing director spending money like its going out of style?
Cargill was quick to suggest that the trip at Winding Bay would incur far less cost than a trip to Andros in 2006. However, what the managing director failed to admit is the fact that the economy was operating at its best and the world was not in recession. There was no need for an unemployment benefit and NIB didn’t have to write more than 30,000 cheques to unemployed Bahamians.
On yesterday Ingraham could be heard telling newly appointed customs officers, “This is not the place for the dishonest, this is not the place for the tardy, this is not the place for the slacker.” We could only wish he could take that same speech and carry it over to the management at NIB, who seem to have the pernicious greed to splurging public funds for their own gluttonous desires of fun and frolic and to delight the deep pockets of acquaintances.
We demand a public commission to investigate the SCANDALOUS OPERATIONS at NIB. INCLUDING THE CONTRACTS TO KENUTH KNOWLES, PORKY DORSETT, IRAM LEWIS, CHARLTON MORLEY AND DEACON JEFFERY LLOYD, just to name a few. To send for people and papers to sit from place to place and stop the hemorrhage of funds at the nation’s social security institute.
Bahamas Press’ probe into NIB will continue tomorrow.